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A 7.5-ton sculpture by internationally known artist R. M. Fischer was dedicated Saturday in its new home atop the hill in Ruby Dee Park at Library Green. The sculpture previously enriched the Los Angeles headquarters of Sony Studios.
Inspired in part by classic science fiction, the art piece – which now includes solar energy to power its lights - resembles elements of a flying saucer or a futuristic gazebo. It was a gift to the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) from Fischer, whose works are known for adding iconic and imaginative new looks to prominent public areas from San Francisco to Kansas City to Brooklyn and have shown from Europe to Japan. He has a show opening this fall in London and some of his gallery works are now exhibited Downtown at Backstreet Gallery.
“New Rochelle recognizes the enormous value of public art in shaping a culturally vibrant and attractive city center,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said at the dedication. “The R.M. Fischer sculpture at Ruby Dee Park is part of this effort and will be a noteworthy addition to one of our most active civic spaces.”
The Fischer sculpture was transported across the country and erected with grants from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club and the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency (IDA). The Sun Club®, a nonprofit that donates sustainability projects to nonprofits, has outfitted the sculpture with solar panels to light its dome and interior. The IDA is a public benefit corporation which assists with the economic and community development as well as job growth in the city. Placing the Fischer sculpture in the largest open public space in the downtown core is important to the ongoing success of the agency’s projects and over all mission.
“The R.M. Fischer sculpture is a wonderful showcase for how easy it is to incorporate renewable energy into everyday life,” said Mark Parsons, president of Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. “The Sun Club is proud to support New Rochelle, and we hope visitors are inspired to live a more sustainable lifestyle.”
The sculpture has been renamed “Twilight of Dawn “by the artist. “Moving from a commercial plaza to a landscaped community park the artwork has been transformed.” Fischer said. “It will take on a whole new character. As an artist, to see my work take on a new life is inspiring. It is fitting that its new home, downtown New Rochelle, is also being transformed.”
The sculpture advances two of the BID’s goals – bolstering downtown and creating a more environmentally-friendly commercial and cultural core in the city. “R. M. Fischer’s sculpture is a perfect fit for New Rochelle,” said BID Executive Director Ralph DiBart. “Featuring such a significant and visually commanding work from a leading artist elevates downtown and brings it the national cache New Rochelle deserves. With power from the sun, the sculpture will also serve as inspiration for a more sustainable future.”
The BID aims to promote sustainability through technological advancement. That goal is exemplified by an upcoming project the BID is collaborating on with Marco Antonio Castro, a TED Fellow and former Director of MediaLab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to develop a Sustainability and Virtual Reality Truck that will educate the public about the latest technologies. The U-Haul Corporation is supporting the project.
IDA Vice Chairman downtown businessman Ivar Hyden noted that installations like these play a crucial role in drawing fruitful development to the area. “I’m delighted to have this lovely piece by internationally acclaimed artist R.M. Fischer here in the heart of downtown. A major public work of art is more than something pleasing to look at,” he said. “Attractive and thought-provoking art is key in creating a place where people want to live and work, and that makes it more appealing for economic development.”
The addition of solar power adds a forward-looking element to the work of an artist who aims for his sculptures to evoke a sense of possibility and optimism. Fisher’s installation “Sky Stations” added an iconic element to the skyline of Kansas City. His colonnade of four light sculptures punctuates San Francisco’s Union Square. Pittsburg residents strolling North Shore Riverfront Park enjoy the sight of the Langley Observatory Clock. And another clock, trim and lighting on the Battery Park Tunnel adds a glow and Art Deco flair to the tunnel vent.
“Twilight of Dawn” will also stand as a signature piece in the BID’s initiative to bring public art downtown, reflecting a commitment to environmental sustainability and art utilizing the elements: earth, wind, water and sun. The BID’s public art initiative earlier installed two sculptural trees of hammered aluminum by renowned artist Robert Lobe – one in the park near Fischer’s artwork, and another at the Memorial Highway entrance to the New Rochelle Public Library. While Fischer’s work represents the sun, Robert Lobe’s embodies earth. The Public Art program is run by the BID and arts consultant Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz, who has worked with prominent artists such as Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Future works in New Rochelle representing wind will include sculptures by Brian Tolle, who created the Irish Hunger Memorial at Battery Park City in Manhattan.
The Fischer sculpture was originally installed at the Sony offices under the aegis of LA Art Advisor Michelle Isenberg who also oversaw its transfer to New Rochelle. A Bulfamante Landscaping installed the sculpture in Library Green, and Croton Energy installed the solar panels.